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Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Lesson 6 of 11

Post-Processing Long Exposure Smoothing Water Shots

Matt Kloskowski

Mastering Long Exposure Photography

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

6. Post-Processing Long Exposure Smoothing Water Shots

Lesson Info

Post-Processing Long Exposure Smoothing Water Shots

I wanted to do a little bit of post processing after each segment, cause I think I think post processing is is part of this. I don't think there's not really any way that we can get away from it, so I want to do a little bit of post processing I pulled. I pulled this photo up because I wanted to show you, and I know that went by kind of quick. But I wanted to show you what the light leak looks like. And and you consider this the public service announcement or whatever, whatever have because Sometimes it's hard to see in camera, and that's why it's tricky, because if you forget about it and you come home, you it's happened. Um, you forget about it and you come home from the photo shoot. You won't see it until you get him on the computer. So if you have a fairly light foreground, it's the kind of thing you won't really see until you start editing the photo. But that's that's what to look for. There's some type of a line inside there that's generally where it's gonna be to just just kind ...

of keep that in mind. It's a little closer view of it. The other thing that I wanted to do so I thought was pretty compelling, cause I know they kind of go by, But you really have to see them almost on top of each other when you see it. So that's the before photo. That's the after photo. It's like, you know, it seems almost made for for a long exposure. Think how much better could it be if we got up at three o'clock in the morning to get out there and shoot it so before, after it's to me, it's a really good example. Okay, um, so let's talk a little bit about how we would go through and edit the photo, because I do think I think that's an important part of what we want to do for this. I think there's some key post processing things that we're gonna have to do, and we want to make sure that we go through those things. So go ahead and turn that on. Here is this is the original, the original raw file and reset Rafael. No, before and after nothing. Um, so remember I talked about what I think The biggest hurdle that you're going to see when it comes to editing these photos is they're generally and have a blue photo color. Castillo right there always have a very cool type of a look to it so we can get rid of that a couple of different ways. You I mean, my The easiest thing is as I kind of just run through the white balance presets. You have him over here in the list, but I haven't been my workflow, so I just go daylight cloudy shade, warm or very one. Okay. And if you look at, if you see the back slaski, so that's before that's after. If you don't get warm enough or you're not sure one of the things you can do is also grab that eyedropper and click over something that's great issue muted in color so I can try the shoreline that'll probably warm it up a little bit. This vote is a little bit tough. There's not gonna be too much gray that I can click on. It can try the pilings that's not going to do it so that one really becomes almost manual and either run through the presets or crank up your your temperature slider. But that's generally gonna be the biggest one. Crank up the temperature slider and crank it up quite a bit. It's It's more than you think. Um, the difference between if I reset this, you can see it starts all the way over there. So you want to crank that? I'm quite a bit, and sometimes we'll have a little bit of a greenish color caste and that that tent will take care of it. Let's see here so we'll go down. Exposure wise are actually pretty good. Try to tweak the exposure just a little bit, um, toning our main. Our main problem with toning is really going to be a lot of this. Back here is a little bit dark in the shadows, so normally crank up the shadows. Slider. I just kind of run through some of the workflow clarity and contrast automatically at some clarity and contrast there. Color boost. It's a fairly muted, seen when it comes to color, so I'm not gonna go crazy trying to boost colors inside of it. I'll try vibrance. I actually don't like it. Try saturation. That's a little bit better. By the way there at the top, There's always a reset. So that's why I just reset. Saturation is not too bad. Can even pull it back. Uh, let's see here. No, I'm not gonna boost any of the specific colors. I have a polarizer filter, which she adds a little bit of blue into the sky. Essentially, all that really does is it goes into the hs l panel, and it tweaks some of the blue luminous sliders. Could see right in there. Makes him a little bit darker. Okay, I'm not gonna go that quite that dark, but And finishing touches a little bit of sharpening. We can zoom in that lends corrections. Come back out here and maybe a medium vignette. I probably also crop this a little bit. So go to my crop tool, keep a little bit of the shoreline, but not too much. Crop it down just a bit. Also, if you look at it to me, it looks like it's slanted just a little bit straight in That that's looking better. Um, what else? Maybe warm it just a little bit more. And then I'm also gonna grab my my brush tool and just go to a darkened foreground. Just paint, cause when you shoot in mid morning, that's what you're gonna get and you could always tweak it. But the settings they're all the darkened foreground does is it warms it, and it brings down the exposure a little bit and a little bit of clarity. So, uh, I think we're about done on that one at the backslash key. So that's before, and that's after before and then after. So post processing is a big, big part of these types of photos. They're very, very rarely going to come out of the camera looking perfect exactly like you imagined. Because now you know, if you started to want to use grad filters on it and polarizer and all this stuff now you're stacking filters upon filters. You're making the job a lot harder out in the field. Um oh, yeah. The other thing we might want to do here is let's go to our go to our spot healing tool. Just check the sky. I showed it yesterday. I got an email from somebody last night. They're like, visualized. It's funny. The visualize spots thing was the best thing that they saw all day. Like, really, I think I did a lot of stuff yesterday and showing you how to remove a spot from the sky was the best thing I did. And it's not even like I didn't do it like room put it in there. I didn't create it anyway. But visualize spots and you can kind of see there's a couple of little well spots up there that we can get rid of. Um, what else? Private. Oh, that actually helps. I know it's tough for you guys to see, but it kind of has a little bit of a green cast to it. That will happen. The long exposures that gets green to smooth, that 10 slider over just a hair. And I would finish here, but I'd be I couldn't I'd have to tell you, because I know this is popular. A lot of people do convert these two black and white. All right, so I know we talked about black and white. Was that yesterday or today? So, in a nutshell, attended. I knew you guys were in a nutshell. I'm not a huge black and white fan. Mother Nature's got a lot of great colors out there, and I just feel like I want to show off those colors so I don't do a lot of black and white. But when you see long exposure, some reason that it goes hand in hand with black and white so we can go up. And I think these were part of the free presets that come with the class today. The workflow ones aren't with one click ones. I think I got some black and white, basic or bold, so if you wanted to see the black and white version, that's that's a black and white version. But personally, I'm always going back there. So that's our before image. And that's the after. Let's do another one where the light was a little bit more. The light was a little bit more challenging then. It wasn't in this because it's there wasn't too much other than opening up the shadows in this photo, but I have one where we have a little bit more of some challenging light. Uh, no, here's a shot, and what I did is I bracketed the series, so I basically took a three shot bracket of the scene without the filter on okay. And then I took the long exposure photo. So I got the three shot bracket of the scene without the filter on. And then I have long exposure photo. So here here's the dark version from the three shot bracket that I took so you can see a captured all the sky and everything like that. But the long exposure version I really want that water toe look smooth. So I'm having toe to do a bit of a longer exposure, and you can see here it's it's starting to get. It's starting to look smooth. There, the problem is, is were blown out the sky. So if that happens, remember these. We talked about this in the landscape photographers class yesterday. These these photos have a lot of leeway in them. All right, we saw how much we can pull back from the shadows and highlights every once in a while. It's it's gonna be a little bit too bright. So in this example here, see if I kind of bounce that exposure around, I've lost all that. I've killed all that detail. All right, but I've got it in this photo here. So I lost all the detail in this photo, but I have it in another one. Um, I think a follow up question to it could be so. So it's over exposed with the filter that I had on. Um, why could I not just use a darker filter? Simple answer is I forgot it. So I ran out of my house, I grabbed the filter pouch, and I thought it had the right filter and it didn't, so I just forgot. So I actually deliberately left the shutter open a little bit longer to get smoother water, knowing that I could take that photo before I could blend them together. So that will happen. You'll either forget the filter, or you just might not have the right one that you need from the scene. But let's go ahead and let's do a couple little tweaks to these. So I'm gonna edit this photo for for the foreground. I'll bring the exposure down a little bit. Can warm it, um, run through a couple of I mean, honestly, most of it's gonna be shadows. Oh, I do want Oh, let's go warm. It's too warm. Most of it's gonna be shadows, so I'm just gonna switch right down to the toning. It's pretty good. Ah, little bit of clarity and contrast will add nicely to it. And not really gonna do too much more other than just do some sharpening. I got a lot of detail up here, so I only do sharpening strong. Maybe not. That's better. So sharpening will be lens corrections. And I'm not gonna add a vignette yet because off stage that for the finishing finishing touches, maybe we'll pull back just a little on the warmth there. So I got the foreground going. Let's go take a look at the background. And I'm just gonna edit this for the sky, so but it warmer, but not too much. I think this guy actually looks pretty good. In fact, we might go to the grad, actually isn't bad. Gonna try about a couple different ones. Boo hdr Super cloud contrast. We might be onto something Hold on by tweak Super cloud contrast make a little bit warmer and then just Oh, you know what? That's why I'm gonna delete a couple of those. All right? We stack them way did this yesterday. We stack clarity on top of each other. You know what? We're gonna go Super cloudy contrast just because we can. All right, So now I got my sky going and I got my foreground down here. Let's go shift. Click. So we're gonna select both of the photos go photo edit in, and I am gonna open them as layers inside a photo shop. Okay, so we saw this yesterday If you weren't around yesterday. What this feature does is it brings us over into photo shop, and it's stacks both layers on top of each other so that we can get the best of both worlds and 7 to 10 minutes later. Yeah, I hope these weird things happen to other people. Like when you go from light room, two photos up doesn't usually open Photoshopped and leave you there. And it's like it just leaves me sitting there in light room like, Hey, we're hanging out. It's done, But we're not gonna show it to you. All right? Eso Let's go ahead. So what do we got? We've got the dark version, the sky on top, and then we've got the later version, the foreground on the bottom. So we got the sky and top. We got foreground on the bottom. What we need to do is bring both of these together. So what we do is we add a layer mask to the sky and the layer mask. It's white. So we know that in order to affect the layer mess, we have to paint on it with the opposite color, which would be blacks will take my brush tool set the foreground to black. Now, where do I paint? I paint over whatever I want to hide. Okay, well, your message way. I paint with black and I want to hide foreground, like so you All right? So I want to hide the foreground. Um, you could always kind of reduce the opacity if you want to adjust it a little bit, but I think actually works pretty good for missed a little spot down there. So we had the foreground, and, uh so that's before. That's what the bad sky And that's what the better sky pulled in. I'm not gonna really do anything else inside of foot. You know what? I will do something else inside of photo shop because we're here. We might as well do it, and it's it's gonna be a better place to do it than light room. You see, fill these little rocks. So when you do long exposures and there's there's small things that just come over the water, what happens is is is imagine the water kind of moving and rising and everything so they look a little bit weird. These rocks look just fine, But to me, when you start to see these rocks, that's almost kind of looks like smudges or something inside of the photo. So what we'll do here is there's a couple of ways we can fix him. I'm first going to try the spot healing brush. It's got content aware turned on, and I will just make a new layer weaken. Do it there, just get rid of a few of them. Any of the ones that look like spots. I'll probably leave that one. Carry that little guy. I believe the other ones. Sometimes you'll see a couple little patches there. If that happens, maybe switch over to the clone stamp tool and sample. The other little trick is if I sample option are all click and sample and then I just paint. It's gonna kind of give a little bit of a repeating pattern. But if I lower the opacity 40 50% we'll hide your tracks. All right. And then the final thing is, we can always try the patch tool. So the way that the patch tool works is you just circle an area and click and drag it over. Okay? Whatever you want to fix and apparently doesn't work very good. So sometimes the patch tool works good, but it's really a combination of trying a couple of different and the past tools. Really. Pactual is usually one my favorites, and it's not. It's it's going in the penalty box today. I had to get the hockey reference in there because the Tampa Bay Lightning are playing for the Stanley Cup. So many lightning fans out there. Oh, wait here from Chicago. Ah, I didn't I didn't You I've been talking to you. I stayed after and we we we did editing together yesterday. I'm not a sports fan. So it was earlier from Chicago. I mean, it doesn't matter. All right, so you'll root for the lightning, man. Okay, so if we if we are indeed gonna look at that panorama from yesterday I want you to put a lightning lightning meckler t shirt on or something like that for the rest of the afternoon. All right, let's see here. So we're about done in, so I know that I'm not going to spend any more time on that stuff. Um, we're about done inside of photo shop, so let's go. Remember the way to get back toe light room is we go file safe so we don't change the name. Don't change the location. Don't do anything like that. Just go file safe. Close the image, Jump back over here toe late room. And so there is our there's our new file together with the foreground and the background. Uh, probably going here and do a little bit of crop and crop crop e. I can crop down from there a little bit. We can even I mean, be interesting to see Pycroft all that out. Kind of like it Better. Remember all that stuff that I fixed next time, just crop it out. That's the easy way to make it gone on. I think I still have a little bit of the tree hang in there, so that's looking good. Let's see here, Play with our white balance. Do whites and blacks got a white point and I got a quick black point here. Um, I like like the warmth. I like the sun. I'm just going to experiment, maybe cool it a little bit. Go grab my, uh, my grad filter, Remember? Remember the brushes we talked about this yesterday? But any of the presets that you do in your brushes in your radio filter, they show up in the grad filter. So I if I have one for for darkening the sky, that's a brush I could I could do that to You know what I'm gonna do here? I'm gonna dark in the foreground. Kind of like in that. And then I'm gonna grab a brush and let's go to sunshine. Too bright or too warm lets us go to brighter foreground. There we go. And then I can always bring you exposure down a little bit. Throw vignette on the end of it. There you go. Okay, So this is again. This is one of those ones from my guest Ray. It's a tough It's a tough one to show before and after, but we'll do our best because you were kind of combining two different photos here. But that is our that's our before image. And that's our after image. So before and then after. Okay, so that's the workflow for the smoothing, smoothing the water, taking the ripples away, trying to get almost a glassy type of a feel, for we've got some other videos later on today and I'll do some more post processing on some of the different stuff will clouds a cool trick. I'll show you later where you can make the cloud streak, even if they're not streaky. We can confuse Photoshopped to do that. I know you won't do that because you're against all cloud thing. Just get you. Just don't even include clouds and your photos. Do you just hate clouds thing, pictures of the ground. So we'll take a look at some of that stuff later that we got one. Can you talk about and this isn't necessarily a technical question. It could be from your preferences on what you like to shoot, but the use of long lenses and wide lenses. And if that impacts the way you shoot the approach, the timing, some of these pictures are wide, but even the shoot that you did Ah, in Tacoma, it looked like there was an opportunity to get closer into the pilings And what was on the other side of the water. I just want to know about your kind of personal preferences. Yeah. So, um, I'm a big I'm a big foreground, Got, like, everybody's kind. I think everybody has that little checklist of what they're looking for in the scene. When I get somewhere, the first thing I'm doing is looking at foreground. I'm looking, looking to see where I think the lights interesting. And then when I find out wherever the lights going to be interesting, I personally zone right in on foreground. So if you ever look at my photos like, there's always something in front of you if I can, If I can help it, there's always gonna be something in front of you kind of brainy into the scene. Which is why I like in Tacoma, like I just there wasn't too much there. I thought it was just a good a good place to do the shot, but I probably you know, I might have ventured around the little war to try to find some foreground in there. But I'm always looking a foreground somewhere. We shooting a little bit wide, but you're absolutely right. And I think I did in the Tacoma one. Um, I think I did. I did zoom in after you could see a C c. I stayed Lee. I stayed after We're done shooting just to do a couple test shots and I did one myself and I still even after teaching and having light leak and I still forgot to close Cheddar. But this took my white balance thing on there. Yeah, I zoomed in a little bit more. The other thing is, is, I think I probably assumed it is, but I had the 24 to 70 with me, probably about as far as I could go in to it. But I'm shooting. It's the D A 10. So I could I could crop into that thing and still print it. Bigas I want. But yeah, there's probably some Really There's probably some really interesting shots. Yeah, and now that I see that like I wish I took it, you know, because that simplifies. No, it's It's a nice, simple seen, um Yeah, you can almost appreciate, man. I'm kind of bummed I didn't take that shot now. I mean, I know I'm cropped in so far. I think most of my resolution is gone at this point, but yeah, that's that to me. That's perfect. That's like a great scene for it. So, yeah, I, uh, apparently don't do men enough. I didn't see that, but, uh, I'm usually why, But you know, if I can put the zoom lens on, got a question similar to that, Actually, in the chat room. Do you ever feel the need for more reach like greater than 200 millimeters in a lens? If so, which lends? Would you choose a 72 to 200 or can in 1 to 400 eyes too? That's a specific ones, but I think the range is more. Yeah. Look, So what I What I personally do is I carry the 72 200 I have the tele converter. There you go. Have the one point for tele converter, which will take out 2 to 80. But I carry the tele converter and again landscape photography. Yeah, for a sports photographer, do not want to go to the tele converter too much because you lose to stop or maybe two stops, depending on what you're shooting. But for a landscape photographer, I don't care. I'm not shooting it at four or 5.6. So Rex is fine. Cool on these long shots with a filter. What white balance do you say your camera to? My camera's always set the auto. Okay? Always said, Actually, I shouldn't say that auto or, uh, museum. It's a mix between auto and shade. Okay, so if I may be doing Portrait Amo, I always like I was like a little bit of a warmer type of a portrait. I, especially if I'm doing portrait. Sometimes I'll show people, and so I know that I can warm it up later on. But But they don't. So I wanted to look warm. Cell shoot a lot of in shape, but my landscape stuff from usually shooting an auto, and you could see it's just a one click to get me where I want white balance. Right at sunset, the sun drops from the horizon quickly. Can you still get a sunburst with a neutral density filter? Doesn't the sun get blurred. It definitely will. So it just depends how long you're doing a nexpo jher for. It's just a couple of seconds. Then you'll be able to get it. But if it's 2030 seconds long, yet you're probably you're probably get a weird were type of a look from it. Okay, thank you for covering this topic. Matt. Are there any special applications that I need to consider and using a mere lists system? No, it's, uh, muralist systems Air Getting more popular. You have You got the Fuji. They're getting a lot more popular. Um, your filters will probably be cheaper because a lot of the mirror list lenses are a little bit smaller. So you know, the 77 threads and the millimeter thread lenses. The filter prices go up for it, so your filters were probably a little bit cheaper. You can get that tiffin kit for like, bucks versus the 82 millimeter thread filter like 1 30 or something. So but no now, as long as you can get the filters and do all that good awesome, Joe wants to know. Do you ever use really small apertures like F 28 or 22. Is there any depth of field that's gained? I don't have any lenses that go anything more than F 22 s. Okay, Ever f 22 is the that smallest aperture I give to. Okay, One final question, and then we're gonna We're gonna head to a break here. Thank you so much for the class. I have one question. Is there a relationship between shutter speed and the subject speed, shutter speed and subject speed? Not sure what they mean by that. Um, don't know how would affect this, right, But like a river flowing. Oh, okay. Okay, so that's that's actually it's a great question, cause I hear that one a lot. Like what's the magic shutter speed for a waterfall or or the beach or something like that? So there is no magic shutter speed because it's tough to help because every water, every body of water is different. The tides different. The waterfall, it could be after rain. It could be, hasn't rained in three months. So water is always a little bit different, so it's tough to really get like the magic shutter speed for it, so I can say, like waterfalls and movies at like a second beaches. I'm always trying to be somewhere in the 1 to 2 second range. You know anything longer, We're going to see this this afternoon with a beat shot and some of the photos that will show you what happens if you go too long on some of these shutter speeds. But I could say it's tough to give you a formula, but it's one of those things, like the more you do it, you'll get a feel you'll start to get a feel for what you like for what types of shutter speed you like.

Class Description

Long exposure photography helps you to create truly dramatic images. In Mastering Long Exposure Photography with Matt Kloskowski you’ll learn how to capture images in which water appears to move and clouds streak across the sky.

Matt is a landscape photographer and the best-selling author of over 20 books on photography, Lightroom, and Photoshop. In this class, you’ll watch Matt at work in the field as he demonstrates his favorite techniques. 

You’ll learn about:

  • Camera settings for capturing extended exposures 
  • Helpful photography equipment and apps 
  • Post-processing long exposure images 

Matt will discuss which filters work for long exposure photographs and he’ll show you how to create images that seem to move and convey the passage of time.

If you've been wanting to create dramatic images, Mastering Long Exposure Photography with Matt Kloskowski is the class for you. It'll open you up to a whole new style of captivating fine art photography.



I always enjoy the opportunity to learn something new from one of my favorite teachers, and Matt rarely disappoints. The material that he covers in this class on long exposures will give the viewers enough tools and techniques to get them on their way to creating quality captures. He gives many tips how to overcome some of the most commonly found issues and pitfalls that long exposures can include. If there was any disappointment in what I received, it would be the duplication of the "bonus" material (except for the 'cheat sheet') from the class I had purchased the day before. I might add that "Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers" is a great companion to this class and is also worthy of purchase. The second disappointment, at least for me, was Matt's not including long exposures that involve capturing the night sky... stars, Milky Way, Moon, etc. THAT would be a perfect opportunity for CreativeLive to jump in and put a class together. I would be willing to bet that it would be HUGELY popular. Just a thought! Again, a big 'thank you' to Matt for another solid presentation. I'll be tuning in to his next presentation.

D Kelly

Excellent class! Great for beginners who want to learn LE photography. I started experimenting with LE last Fall and this course totally reinforced everything I learned. I loved the "hands on" demonstrations in the field and how each frame he shot was explained. His excellent explanations of how to use the filters was very good. An easy going instructor who made what is often a confusing subject very easy to grasp.

Karen Witter

I have loved all of the classes I've taken from Matt, and this class was no exception. Matt explains everything so clearly and then beautifully illustrates what he means. I learned a ton from this class. I love how practical he is, as well as his engaging manner of teaching. I highly recommend this class if you're interested in taking pictures where you want to convey motion which, as he explains, is how our eyes really see.